Explore submerged vehicles and the remains of homesteads in the clear, blue waters of Lake Tenkiller in northeast Oklahoma.
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Grab your gear or rent some from local diving pro shops around the lake and explore the diverse underwater terrain at Lake Tenkiller. Long considered one of the best places to dive in Oklahoma, Lake Tenkiller stretches over 160 feet deep and is filled with sunken vehicles, planes and boats to explore.
Whether you’re already a certified scuba diver or you’re ready to learn a new hobby, there are three locations around Lake Tenkiller where you can stock up on supplies or take the classes required for your certification.
Wondering if scuba diving is for you? Start with Nautical Adventures, located on the northeast side of the lake. This full-service dive shop offers an introduction to scuba diving class in an indoor, heated pool set to a comfortable 80 degrees. When it’s time to dive in for real, Nautical Adventures has an underwater suspended platform where divers can be overseen by instructors and divemasters. If you’ve already got the equipment and know-how, stop by the shop for a cylinder rental or refill of air or Nitrox. As an added bonus, Nautical Adventures also has a Dive Hut located within Tenkiller State Park that is open seasonally on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Gene’s Aqua Pro, located at the south end of the lake, offers dive classes every weekend all summer long. Start with the basic PADI Open Water Diver course or continue your education and learn new diving skillsets. The basic certification course lasts three days and includes a physical logbook, certification card and rental gear. Serving the Lake Tenkiller Area since 1971, Gene’s Aqua Pro also offers a shop with dive masks, scuba fins, snorkels, dive computers, Scubapro BC's and diving suits.
The state park’s dive site is located within the Fisherman’s Point Campground near the mouth of Pine Cove. This area offers plentiful parking, on-site restrooms, covered picnic areas and primitive tent sites. Buoys encircle the water in this area keeping boaters out of the diving space, and no swimming is allowed. A former boat ramp can be used by divers as an entry point. Dives in the area can reach 60 feet deep, and visibility typically ranges from 3-10 feet. Explore several submerged boat hulls, a Coast Guard helicopter fuselage, an airplane and a school bus that you can swim through.
Gene’s Aqua Pro invites divers to take the “Grand Tour Challenge,” which encourages divers to search for the seven main attractions in this area: Green Boat, Twin Boats, Helicopter, Aquanaut Boat, Airplane, School Bus and Dedication Plaque. See if you can find them all!
The southernmost section of Tenkiller State Park is home to a small inlet that separates Crappie Point and the Bluff View tent campground. As there is no direct access to the water from the bluffs, this area features some of the best visibility in the lake. Bring your own boat or rent one from Pine Cove Marina, Strayhorn Marina or Burnt Cabin Marina.
The Bluffs are also home to several training platforms used by Nautical Adventures, as well as a sign located near a 20-ft underwater rocky outcropping, so keep your eyes peeled for these interesting sites.
Located on the southwest side of the lake, Strayhorn Landing offers a shallow section of water that makes it popular with scuba diving events like the John’s Jack-O-Lantern Challenge, where you test your skills carving a pumpkin underwater. Looking for even more extreme fun? With an Oklahoma fishing license, divers can even try their luck at spear fishing for non-game fish.
When the U.S. Corps of Engineers began construction of the Tenkiller Dam to create Lake Tenkiller in 1947, several structures in the small towns surrounding the area were moved to make way for the lake. However, a few of the buildings couldn’t be moved, and a few features can still be seen to this day. Located between Chicken Creek and Buckhorn Cover on the east side of the lake, there are four-foot-tall rock walls surrounding the building that was once called Buckhorn School, while another attraction called the Mob House is a large rock structure with 14-foot-tall walls between Tinker Cover and Needlepoint off Pigeon Road on the west side of the lake. For even more underwater exploration, head to the mouth of Terrapin Creek and descend 58 feet to spot the remains of the Terrapin Creek Bridge. This concrete bridge and guardrails once connected the communities of Cookson and Buckhorn.
Looking for more information on cabins, camping or fun activities nearby? Get a quick overview on Tenkiller State Park with this insider’s guide.